With a pregnancy often times comes the realization that babies are expensive. But is that really true? Does having a baby automatically mean you have to kiss your money goodbye? In my opinion the answer is NO. Green moms are way ahead of the curve when it comes to raising baby on the cheap. The old saying applies equally to “stuff” we accumulate when raising children… “Use it Up, Wear It Out, Make It Do, or Do Without”. There is no reason we need to fall victim to the marketing hype that declares we NEED all the latest baby gadgets, equipment, and toys. Here are some ways to raise baby green… and cheap.
Extended Breastfeeding – Why buy expensive formula when you have milk on tap. Its the healthiest food you could ever give your child and it is FREE! And while you are at it, don’t rush solids. There is no reason to start your 4 month old baby on solid baby food, in fact most conventional doctors recommend to wait until at least six months. Many natural parenting advocates recommend starting even later than that, perhaps around the 9 month mark. Waiting to introduce solids can help prevent food allergies.
Co-sleep – You most likely already have a bed so why buy another? Co-sleeping is very safe and it is very convenient for breastfeeding moms as well. In our family, we didn’t have to worry about buying beds until our kids were about 4-5 years old. An added bonus for co-sleeping parents is the deep bond you form with your kiddos.
Wear Your Baby – Investing in a good baby sling or wrap can save money in the long run. When you choose to wear your baby you can often forgo a stroller, bouncy seat, rocking swing, or other device meant to entertain your baby so you can be hands free. You would be surprised how much you can get done while wearing a baby in a sling and once again it helps you to bond with your child. Modern interventions do nothing to help you and your child form a deep attachment.
Buy Used – Check out yards sales, thrift stores, and online classifieds sites to buy baby items like clothing. Organic clothing is certainly worth it but used clothing has been sufficiently washed so that pesticide residue is no longer an issue and buying used saves energy resources used to make new clothing. Babies don’t need expensive little outfits either; they can’t read the tag to know whether the outfit came from Gymboree or whether it was purchased at Baby GAP.
Used maternity clothing is another smart purchase. If you only need those clothes for 5-6 months why buy new?
Cloth Diaper – Using cloth can mean a hefty initial investment in diapers but it also means a large cost savings in the long run. To keep costs low use prefold diapers and diaper covers. You can even dye the prefolds groovy colors if feel the need to jazz them up. If you knit you can also make homemade wool diaper covers and longies for baby. Another option is to buy used. There is a huge market for used diapers on eBay and cloth diaper forums. Doing it this way enables you to try dozens of different diaper types to see what ones you like best. And of course you can always make your own for only a couple dollars per diaper. They really are one of the easiest things you can sew.
Make Your Own – Thrifty moms can save a lot by avoiding commercial versions of the products they need. If you need baby food why buy the little jars for $1 a piece when you can puree your own in a food processor or blender. Just set aside some of the food that the big people are eating and blend it for baby. There are also numerous baby food cookbooks on the market. Get some from the library and and write them down your baby’s favorites on recipe cards for easy reference.
You can also make your own natural baby products like natural lotions, bath oils, creams, diaper creams, talc-free powders, and shampoos. You will save money AND prevent exposure to dubious chemicals and synthetic products.
Forgo The Gadgets – Do you really need that exersaucer or the wipes warmer? Probably not. Get creative and come up with alternatives. Instead of a wipes warmer why not use cloth wipes sprayed with a bit of warm water? Then you won’t need to buy store brand wipes either.
What is your favorite way to go green and save green while raising baby?